Pro Bono Program

Pro Bono Program Launches Interactive Family Law Tool

The D.C.Bar Pro Bono Program is pleased to announce the launch of a new tool on LawHelp.org/DC for pro se litigants in family law cases. Six interactive online interviews will enable pro se litigants with divorce, custody, and child support cases to fill out form pleadings without outside assistance.

The interviews gather a pro se litigant's information through a series of interactive questions, then display it in a printable document that the litigant can file in D.C. Superior Court. By employing a user-friendly, plain-language format that avoids legal jargon, the interviews are designed to be accessible to a wide range of litigants. When an interview is unable to accommodate a litigant for any reason, the litigant is directed to the Family Court Self-Help Center at D.C. Superior Court for in-person assistance.

Interviews are currently available for the following six pro se form pleadings:

  • Complaint for Absolute Divorce
  • Contested Answer to Complaint for Absolute Divorce and Counterclaim
  • Complaint for Custody and/or Visitation
  • Contested Answer to Complaint for Custody and/or Visitation
  • Motion to Modify Custody and/or Visitation
  • Motion to Modify Child Support[1]

These interviews are similar to the interviews developed by the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Program for landlord and tenant cases that have been available on LawHelp.org/DC since 2009. The family law online interviews will also provide a convenient and easy-to-use resource for legal services organizations and pro se litigants. We hope to increase the number of interactive interviews available in the future.

We are indebted to the D.C. Family Court and our colleagues within the legal services community who have worked with us to test and provide feedback on these interviews, and also recognize that the interviews will benefit from ongoing improvements to make them accessible to the largest number of pro se litigants. We would be grateful for comments and suggestions, which can be sent by clicking the "Send Feedback" button that is featured on all the interviews, or by emailing Mike Grunenwald at mgrunenwald@dcbar.org.

We invite you to explore these new resources at www.lawhelp.org/dc/self-help-forms.

The D.C. Bar Pro Bono Program is an independent, nonprofit organization dedicated to recruiting, training, and mobilizing lawyers to make desperately-needed legal services available to individuals and families living in poverty in the District of Columbia, and to the community-based nonprofits and disadvantaged small businesses that are critical to the strength of the District's low-income neighborhoods. Through our clinics, resource centers and programs we touch the lives of 20,000 people each year, as we strive to increase access to justice across the District.


[1] Please note that this interview cannot currently accommodate litigants in cases where the petitioner is the D.C. government. We are working to make the interview accessible to all litigants within the next few weeks.